New Delhi, Nov. 25: In an unusual move that is the first of its kind, India today publicly suggested the formation of a national government in Nepal to deal with the Maoists and resolve the kingdom’s political crisis.
The announcement of the stand by foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna at the end of Nepal Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa’s three-day official visit was unlike Delhi’s normal procedure of conveying its views and concerns in private to the Nepalese leadership.
“The Prime Minister of India has expressed concern over the serious security situation prevailing in Nepal and stressed the need to take urgent broad-based measures to deal with it,” Sarna said.
“In this context, the Prime Minister reaffirmed India’s consistent position that a national consensus needs to be evolved based on the principles of multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy,” the statement added, in an apparent hint to King Gyanendra to patch up with the democratic forces in his country.
“This would require both the institution of monarchy as well as the political parties to demonstrate flexibility and reach a consensus to address the challenges posed by the Maoist insurgency,” Sarna said.
“A representative government with the participation of all parliamentary parties, working in close cooperation with the monarchy, would assist in evolving such a national response to the situation,” the statement emphasised.
The unusual move could be attributed to India’s growing concern over the Maoists in Nepal. Delhi believes the Maoists have close links with Naxalite groups such as the PWG, which last month attacked Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu, hardening India’s attitude towards the rebels in Nepal.
India fears that if the king and the political parties in Nepal refuse to look for rapprochement, the country’s political crisis could deepen and help the Maoists expand their influence.
Delhi, sources said, was also apprehensive that if the political parties failed to evolve a consensus, the king might take more executive power into his hands, which would only help yield more ground to the Maoists.
Thapa, who met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, was here ostensibly to discuss matters relating to Saarc — Nepal is its current chairman.
But his real purpose was to enlist India’s support for his chair. Thapa had been directed by the president of his party to resign by November 21. India, without asking Thapa to step down, has asked Nepal to evolve a system involving all major parties in a broad-based government to ensure political stability.